Tom Cruise Gives Advice on Best TV Settings For Movies at Home

When Ethan Hunt, Jack Reacher and Maverick are all telling you the same thing, maybe it's time to start listening!

by AVForums Dec 5, 2018 at 8:58 AM


  • Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie are making a case for switching off video interpolation when watching movies at home on TV.
    In an unusual move, Tom Cruise, along with 'BFF' writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, have taken to Twitter and YouTube to post what amounts to a public service announcement on behalf of motion picture content creators.

    Their concern centres around the default settings that almost all TV manufacturers ship their sets with. Out of the box settings that help reduce blurring or juddering in fast moving sequences are automatically turned on and are known variously as Video Interpolation, MotionFlow, TruMotion, Intelligent Frame Creation or a combination of other marketing terms. The technology revolves around inserting extra frames to smooth out the action and the resultant image can benefit sports events or video content. However, for movies, the addition of this extra material (that was never part of the director's original vision) can give rise to a somewhat artificial effect, known as Soap Opera Effect (SOE) where footage no longer looks like it was shot on film but rather on a cheap video camera - it can be quite an unnatural look.

    Viewers may not even be aware that what they are watching is being subjected to Motion Smoothing and Cruise and McQuarrie are asking that you take a moment to check whether there are better settings with which to watch material that has taken 100s of dedicated professionals years to produce to an exacting standard. Films are created at 24fps and one of the reasons for that is the motion blur and natural look the low frame rate gives films. Directors and content creators use this technique because it gives them the 'look' they want artistically. All modern TVs can resolve this frame rate and make it look correct in most cases without any additional interpolation required. By using smoothing interpolation you change the 'look' the content creators were aiming for and therefore the feel and emotion of a scene can be changed.

    Thankfully, some manufacturers are now starting to listen to the filmmakers and are providing guarantees that there are settings that allow films to be watched in such a way as to replicate the director's vision. The problem is making sure these settings are easily available rather than hidden under layers of menus that most people have no interest in navigating. Ideally, the Cinema picture modes on these TVs should come with all image processing, including interpolation switched off.

    Accurate representation of movies on TVs is, of course, something that AVForums have been championing for decades now and we wholeheartedly agree with the stance that Cruise is taking. And when Ethan Hunt, Jack Reacher and Maverick are all telling you the same thing, maybe it's time to start listening!

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